The Blues face a second domestic semi-final of the season when we face Manchester City at Wembley later today, with John Mikel Obi relishing another big test.
The Nigerian was a late substitute in Thursday’s 3-2 Europa League defeat against Rubin Kazan in Moscow, a result which saw us progress to the last four of the competition 5-4 on aggregate.
Chelsea have never lost an FA Cup semi-final at the new Wembley, with Arsenal, Aston Villa and, most recently Tottenham Hotspur, being swept aside, but having watched Roberto Mancini’s team claim local bragging rights earlier this week, Mikel knows we will need to be at our best if we are to book our place in the final for the second successive year.
‘It’s a game we’re looking forward to, and if you look at the game against Rubin, we probably had one eye on today’s game,’ said the midfielder.
‘It’s going to be a very difficult game, City are playing very well now towards the end of the season, they just beat Manchester United at Old Trafford and they have confidence.
‘We just have to go out there and do what we normally do, just try to play football and hopefully we can get a good result.’
While our record under the Wembley arch is impressive, our opponents have certainly had the better of recent games between the two sides.
Our 2-0 defeat at the Etihad in February was the sixth occasion in which City had come out on top since 2009, but as Mikel explained, today would be the perfect time to put that right.
‘A few times we’ve been unlucky playing against them, but we will be doing our best to try to change that record and turn it in our favour,’ said the 26-year-old.
‘I watched the game against United and they dominated, but we have to go into the game knowing if we keep the ball and move it around we will have our own chances.
‘If you look at their team, they are a great side. When they’re playing the way they are right now I don’t think many teams can stop them, but we’re a good side as well, we have a young team and hopefully it will be a great game and we can get a good result.’
The FA Cup has been good to us in recent times, with four triumphs since 2007, and the Blues faithful will head up Wembley Way confident of another big result.
It’s a time of the season when results are all that matter, and while today’s game comes in the middle of a heavily-congested period, Mikel wouldn’t have it any other way.
‘Together as a team we just keep doing what we can and try to get into the way the manager wants us to play,’ he explained.
‘Sometimes things don’t work out well, sometimes they do, and hopefully on Sunday it’s going to be a great game for us.
‘Chelsea go into every game wanting to win. This club is not used to losing, we play every game like it’s a cup final and I think today will be the same.
‘We’ve always welcomed the games, it’s a great team and footballers like to play. Today is the big one and we need to focus on that.’